(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette)
Negombo Recycling Club (NRC) – a comprehensive Material Recovery Facility (MRF) was officially launched in the presence of chief guest Dr. Anil Jasinghe – Secretary to the Ministry of Environment on the 22nd of March 2023, in commemoration of Global Recycling Day. This MRF was funded and supported by Coca-Cola's philanthropic arm – The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), and Eco Spindles – one of Sri Lanka's largest plastic recyclers, and implemented by Janathakshan (GTE) Ltd., a non-profit organization that is renowned for its work in circular economy and low carbon development in the island. NRC aims to increase the collection and recycling of waste, including PET plastics, through strengthening the recyclable waste-collection system in Negombo, predominantly through capacitating informal collectors.
Hailed as both a prime commercial hub and one of the most popular tourist destinations within the Western Province, Negombo attracts both local and global visitors. However, irresponsible waste disposal and lack of good waste management processes has led to valuable resources being discarded in the environment. Addressing this issue, NRC will extract recyclables from a vast inflow of waste and undergo a value addition process through bailing and crushing of waste prior to it being sent to recyclers. Converting waste into compact bales and granules gains a higher income for NRC from recyclers such as Eco Spindles, allowing the MRF to pay almost double the usual rate to their informal collector network, incentivizing them to collect more. Notably, NRC also acts as a 'buy-back' center, enabling local communities to sell their recyclable waste directly to the MRF.
“I commend The Coca-Cola foundation, Janathakshan, Negombo Recycling Club and Eco Spindles for taking the initiative to strengthen the waste management in Negombo and surrounding areas. The industry must take an active role in this endeavour. MRFs like this are effective solutions to the issue of waste collection and recycling in Sri Lanka. We have to take such steps to strengthen existing waste collection networks and the entire value chain and ensure that recyclable plastic waste is effectively segregated and given a new life.” – Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment.
“ NRC is one of the six MRFs that will be established under the project 'Strengthening informal sector waste collection system for improved waste management and increased collection and recycling of PET plastic in Sri Lanka'. We are proud to support this replicable model of MRFs that increases recyclable waste collection, which is a key national priority for Sri Lanka. Moreover, we are extremely pleased to support an initiative that uplifts the status and earnings of informal waste collectors, especially during a critical time period in Sri Lanka where local communities are exploring alternative means of income”, said Saadia Madsbjerg, President, The Coca-Cola Foundation.
Adding further thought, Mr. Prasantha Malimbadage, CEO Recycling of Eco Spindles shared,“We are happy to have been a part of this journey in the establishment of NRC, through infrastructure support and identifying the correct individuals who will be managing the MRF. Eco Spindles is one of the only two facilities in Asia which has the technology to convert PET plastic waste directly into yarn, and we are proud to play our extended role in this initiative by manufacturing value added recycled items that will be sold locally and internationally. This includes yarn for garments and bristles for brushes and brooms. Having launched the first two comprehensive MRFs in Sri Lanka together with Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka, we are happy to be expanding this model to a wider network of MRFs across the country through this project.”
Sharing his thoughts on the new MRF, Mr. Nishantha Perera Managing Director of NRC, said,“With the opening of this NRC, my team and I have been given an opportunity to create a positive impact for our local communities and the environment in Negombo. We are working hard to expand our collector network, supported by the collection infrastructure such as bins and bags that have been provided by this project. Further, we are creating awareness amongst our communities of the benefits of entering the waste management field, and ensuring dignity of work, so the public recognizes the important role played by waste collectors. MRFs are a sustainable business model, and we hope more people will consider entering the waste collection industry across Sri Lanka.”
“As an organization that is envisioning a sustainable and equitable future, Janathakshan is glad to be a part of this initiative that is strengthening collectors and enhancing recycling in Sri Lanka, leading to a cleaner environment. Along with establishing NRC, Janathakshan has played a critical role in equipping local communities with knowledge and skills on responsible disposal and identifying recyclable waste, creating awareness amongst 2500+ people in Negombo. We are excited to continue this work and launch the remaining 5 MRFs in 2023 as well.” added Ms. Gothami Chandraratne, Director Operations of Janathakshan (Gte) Ltd.
Through the comprehensive approach taken by MRFs, NRC significantly increases the amount of recyclable waste that is collected in Negombo, enhances livelihoods of informal collectors, reduces environmental pollution, contributes to the circular economy, export earnings and Sustainable Development Goals 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, 13: Climate Action and 14: Life below Water.
The Coca-Cola Foundation has provided over USD 790,000 in recent years to Sri Lanka to enhance PET plastic collection and recycling, establishing Material Recovery Facilities and strengthening the informal sector waste collection and eco system, thereby contributing to creating a sustainable circular economy on the island.
About The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation's mission is to make a difference in communities around the world where The Coca-Cola Company operates and where our employees live and work. We support transformative ideas and institutions that address complex global challenges and that leave a measurable and lasting impact. Our giving is focused on sustainable access to safe water, climate resilience and disaster risk preparedness and response, circular economy, economic empowerment, and causes impacting our hometown community. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded grants of over $1.5 billion in service of its mandate to strengthen communities across the world.
For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit: future/communities/the-coca-cola-foundation